Just downtown is a sight in itself. The crowds lend themselves to people-watching. The trolley system is a fairly efficient way to get around downtown, to the craft community, and to Pigeon Forge/Sevierville.
I'm reminded of the midway at a fair--candy apples, corndogs, and sideshows.
During the winter (about October), they put up Christmas lights. In mid-January, they add hearts to the lights in honor of Valentine's Day. By the end of February, they're still up.
It's a part of Gatlinburg that is unavoidable, but if you keep your driving to a minimum and use crosswalks, it's dealable.